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HomeMembersAssemblies and SectionsAssembliesSleep and Respiratory NeurobiologyNews ▶ 2007 James B Skatrud New Investigator Award Winner
2007 James B Skatrud New Investigator Award Winner

Recipient of the 1st James B Skatrud New Investigator Award

The RNS Assembly would like to congratulate Dr. Malcolm Kohler, the first recipient of the James B Skatrud New Investigator Award. We are delighted that this Award has been endowed in the memory of James Skatrud, and we thank everyone who contributed to make this possible. We all regret that we did not have the opportunity to present the award to Dr. Kohler at our recent International Conference in San Francisco, therefore we have taken this opportunity to properly introduce him to the Assembly and let the Assembly members know a bit about his research.

Dr Kohler is a graduate of the University of Zurich, Switzerland and completed his fellowships in Internal and Pulmonary Medicine at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Kohler is the recipient of a long-term research fellowship of the European Respiratory Society, and joined the Sleep Research Unit in Oxford, UK, in September 2006.

Malcolm’s research is focused on respiratory physiology, control of breathing and sleep. Some of his most important publications investigate the role of the nose in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Based on experiments in a bench-side model of the nose, in normal volunteers and patients with sleep-disordered breathing he developed and validated a non-invasive technique to measure nasal conductance with high precision over the course of a night. The technique is a significant advancement in the field allowing unobtrusive measurements of nasal conductance during sleep for the first time. The technique is particularly suited to investigate interactions between nasal obstruction, sleep and nocturnal breathing, and drug effects.

Dr. Kohler has also investigated the relationship between respiratory impairment, physical disability and quality of life in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This work had a major impact on therapeutic decisions in these severely disabled patients, as quality of life in DMD was not found to be correlated to physical impairment or the need for non-invasive positive-pressure ventilation. As a consequence, the publication of this work gained much attention by specialists in the field of neuromuscular diseases and was awarded the 2006 publication prize by the Swiss Society of Internal Medicine and the Swiss Society of Pulmonary Medicine.

Recently, Malcolm has begun research on the cardiovascular complications of OSA, in collaboration with Professor John Stradling, Oxford, UK. He is currently investigating various aspects of vascular endothelial function as part of a multi-centre randomised controlled trial on the effects of nasal CPAP in patients with OSA (MOSAIC trial). In addition to this research, Malcolm is also looking at the prevalence of OSA in a large group of Marfan’s patients, as there is some evidence that OSA may be one of the factors that accelerates aortic dilation in these patients.

Malcolm states that receiving the James B Skatrud New Investigator Award is a great honour and a motivation to continue his research in the field of respiratory neurobiology and sleep. It is an important milestone in his academic medical career and he looks forward to meeting members of the assembly at next years International Conference.

RNS Assembly Chair and Planning Committee